RSS feed for Scott
  • The Witch

    The Witch

    ★★★★

    I’ve long been interested in dark folk stories from colonial North America. There’s something about the unique foundation provided by an untamed wilderness, difficult living conditions, and cruder ideas of religion and spirituality that make for a perfect backdrop for some spine-tingling horror. Somehow this film, which is entirely based on 17th century New England folk tales (from which it directly pulls much of its dialogue), feels less like a folk tale and more like a harrowing true crime story…

  • Hail, Caesar!

    Hail, Caesar!

    ★★★

    A series of hilarious vignettes and fantastic movie-making set pieces that fails to complete gel into a compelling story.

  • The Hateful Eight

    The Hateful Eight

    ★★★½

    As the final chapter came to its conclusion, I realized the aspects of this film that I really loved were all leading towards a movie that Tarantino was never able (and probably never considered) to deliver. Instead, the usual Tarantino revenge-driven plot culminates in an uninspired dismantling that feels like a remix of Tarantino’s other work. Tarantino’s not a one-trick pony, surely, but all of the tricks we've seen use the same three cards, and it’s getting a whole lot…

  • Happy Feet

    Happy Feet

    ★★★

    I put this on mostly to see if my 1.5-year-old daughter would enjoy either a) penguins, or b) dancing penguins. Turns out, this has two things she seems to like. It's not for me, but it's not terrible either and the visuals are fantastic, as we can expect from Miller.

  • I Dream Of Wires

    I Dream Of Wires

    ★★

    A rather un-compelling, even boring look at the birth of the modular synth - and to greater extent the synthesizer itself - which rather drudgingly brings the viewer up to speed on how these complicated pieces of technology were adopted, forgotten, and re-adopted since their conception.

    Here's my problem with it: these machines, designed to take electricity and form sound out of it, are so incredibly interesting, yet the film glosses over everything that makes them worth an in-depth look.…

  • Ant-Man

    Ant-Man

    ★★★½

    Add this to the list of better-than-it-looks-on-paper superhero films. And while you’re at it, add this to the list of better-than-it-probably-should-be films too, because there’s a lot of groan-worthy garbage in this film and especially in its structure. It’s hard to pinpoint what it is about the chemistry of this film, but somehow its failings rinse out in the wash. With an origin story that’s just tight enough, and action that’s in just the right dosage, that it all feels…

  • Trainwreck

    Trainwreck

    ★★★★

    Never quite feeling like an Apatow film (probably due to Schumer’s writing) and yet never quite like the sketches I've seen from Schumer, Trainwreck might be the most honest, if not most well-crafted, thing created by either of these two comedy heavyweights. In many ways this film feels like an epitaph to the stand-up persona Schumer began gaining notoriety with, but it also feels like a statement - saying "this girl’s got a lot more to offer than dick jokes…

  • Jurassic World

    Jurassic World

    ★★★

    Jurassic World has trouble embracing its legacy as much as it does escaping it. And it’s entirely its own fault.

    On one hand, Jurassic World seeks to remind its audience of a number of things that made the first film so special, and it does so subtly in ingenious ways - a fleeting glimpse of the animated “DNA” character here, an homage to the famous “water shake” scene there - but on the other hand, it completely obliterates any subtlty…

  • Spy

    Spy

    ★★½

    It's been a few weeks since I saw this. I've been busy, which is partly why I never put together my thoughts enough for a review. But I also didn't really enjoy the film enough to motivate me to write anything.

    So since I still feel pretty much the same way, and much of this film is forgettable anyway (I have less to write now than before), here are my thoughts based on what I remember from two weeks ago:…

  • Mad Max: Fury Road

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    ★★★★★

    You will not find a more adrenaline-filled, entirely visceral experience quite like the one you'll find on Fury Road (keep in mind: there's very little actual road here).

    Go ahead and try to explain to someone how a flame-spouting electric-guitar-playing blind demon figurehead on a gigantic rolling speaker rig and part of a massive caravan of death-dealing kamikaze Cirque du Soleil spray-paint junkies makes for one of the most epic films of the century. Go ahead, I'll wait.

    The absurdity…

  • Adult Beginners

    Adult Beginners

    ★★★

    Though they’re only involved in Executive Producer roles, this film is unequivocally a Duplass Brothers Film:

    Quirky? Check.
    Hilarious dialogue? Check.
    Stellar cast (including many you’d recognize from The League)? Check.
    Real heart? Check.
    A complete inability to tie all of this together into a fully rewarding package? Sadly, check.

    Of The Duplass ilk’s best work – namely, Cyrus, The One I Love, The Skeleton Twins and Safety Not Guaranteed – this is somewhere near the “better” end of the…

  • Ex Machina

    Ex Machina

    ★★★★½

    For a film very much about the blurred lines of artificiality, to say that Ex Machina accomplishes its goal is an understatement. There’s a moment in this film (okay, there's actually several, but one in particular) that punctuates exactly where those blurred lines become crystal clear. Garland’s work here is nothing short of masterful, and the mood he crafts builds both dread and curiosity in equal measure.

    And somehow, perhaps the most haunting scene involves dance choreography.

    There’s a limited…